Indonesia: Norway to develop peatland-friendly agriculture in Indonesia

Antara 4 May 16;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - The Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia, Stig Traavik, has said his government is ready to help Indonesia to develop peat land-friendly agriculture.

"Well help Indonesia in mastering how to cultivate plants without drying the peat lands, and how to increase the value added of the plants. There are some plants that can grow without drying the peat, such as sago," Traavik said here on Tuesday.

He added that the Norwegian government will also help to market the commodities produced through peat-friendly agricultural practices.

The Ambassador said in principle, Norway is ready to support all efforts to prevent damage that land and forest fires cause.

According to him, the important thing to prevent forest fires, especially in peat lands, is not to let the lands dry up.

"If the land becomes dry, then no technology in the world can cope with it. And if it burns, Indonesia will have a very big problem," he explained.

Traavik said Norway strongly supports every effort to restore peatlands. According to him, land and forest fires occuring in Indonesia now have the attention of his country.

During his visit to Pekanbaru, the Norwegian Ambassador was accompanied by the Chairman of the Indonesian Peat Land Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead.

The Ambassador visited Rimbo Panjang village, which witnesses land and forest fires every year.

During the visit, the ambassador, the agency, as well as the representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry inaugurated 50 boreholes which serve to moisten the lands.

Earlier, in February 2016, the government of Norway had allocated a grant of US$50 million to help the peat lands restoration program in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the US government has also allocated a grant of $17 million.


BRG, Norway review drilling of borewells in Kampar Regency
Antara 3 May 16;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), Riau provincial government, and Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia reviewed the construction of deep borewells in Rimbo Panjang Village, Kampar Regency, Riau Province.

The review was conducted within the framework of Integration for Preventing Forest Fires and Land and Restoration Action through drilling borewells and reinforcing canal bulkheads.

"I was amazed at Riaus achievement of reducing hotspots by 89 percent during the January-April 2016 period as compared to the same period last year, and it was good," Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Stig Traavik stated here on Tuesday.

The ambassador lauded Acting Governor of Riau Arsyadjuliandi Rachman and all parties who had been working hard in preventing forest fires and extinguishing them swiftly.

On the same occasion, BRG Head Nazir Foead revealed that the Norwegian representatives were on a visit to Rimbo Panjang Village to review the construction of deep wells in peatland areas.

"The governor has provided the latest data on some seven to eight thousand canal bulkheads that have been built in Riau Province, and this figure is the highest among all provinces in Indonesia," he pointed out.

Foead affirmed that the current visit was aimed at reviewing the process of building deep borewells in Rimbo Panjang Village as the area was annually ravaged by fires.

"As the area is prone to fires, the smoke always engulfs the airport, so the Indonesian National Armed Forces and Indonesian Police have built canal bulkheads, and we plan to add more deep wells," he explained.

He noted that the deep wells will help to anticipate the extent of current water deficit when land and forest fires raged.

Foead explained that Norway had, since last year, offered assistance several times to prevent fires and restore peatland areas as well as to construct canal bulkheads.

"Norway has provided significant help in the reinforcement of canal bulkheads through a non-governmental organization, and the construction was carried out in line with the technical guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry as well as the provincial and local regency governments," he remarked.

He noted that Norway had lent support to conserve forests, restore peatlands, and prevent forest fires in Indonesia.

In February 2016, the Norwegian government had agreed to allocate a grant of US$50 million to help restore Indonesias peatlands, while the United States had contributed $17 million.

Deputy of Operation Construction and Maintenance for Restoration of Peatlands Alue Dohong stated that the construction of deep wells and the reinforcement of canal bulkheads in Rimbo Panjang Village had begun by drilling 50 deep wells and installing five pumps.

"Thus, later on, there would be a symbolic delivery of the pumps during the direct construction of deep wells," he remarked.

(Reported by Fazar Muhardi and Diana Syafni/Uu.M052/INE/KR-BSR/A014)

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